This Pine Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad contains four things I love: pine nuts, arugula, pasta, and feta. This salad is a delightful combination of bold and refreshing flavors that almost everyone will enjoy. It’s a delicious dinner side dish or perfect accompaniment to any potluck.
Summer is the season of barbecues, picnics, and outdoor gatherings, all of which call for delicious and refreshing dishes. When it comes to crowd-pleasing options, pasta salad is a timeless favorite. I’ve covered the classics like macaroni salad and pasta salad, but if you’re looking for something different and delicious then this Pine Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad is for you!
Sometimes I wonder if I should have called this blog cakes and pasta palads. Lol. If calories didn’t count, my diet would consist largely of cakes and pasta salads. Who’s with me?
If you’re tired of the same old’ pasta salad recipes (We don’t discriminate here.), you need to give this recipe a try. With lots of bright and fresh flavors, it’s ideal for warm-weather entertaining. (Spring, I know you’re coming!)
I also love this recipe because it’s crazy easy. To make most pasta salads, you have to cut up a handful of different ingredients. With this recipe, however, there’s no cutting. (As Ina Garten would say, “How easy is that!?”)
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This salad is perfect for warm summer days and nights, providing a refreshing burst of flavor that complements any main course.
- It’s also versatile, as you can serve it as a side dish or a meal on its own. Add a protein to make it really filling.
- The combination of nutty pine nuts and peppery arugula creates a bold and refreshing taste. Plus, the homemade pesto sauce takes this salad to the next level.
This pesto pasta salad is not your ordinary pasta dish. It’s a flavorful combination of ingredients that are both bold and lively. Here’s what you’ll need to bring this pasta salad together:
- pasta (I used radiatori.)
- olive oil
- fresh basil
- crumbled feta
- salt and pepper
How to Make
I will walk you through the process of making this delicious pesto pasta salad. For your convenience, I’ve also provided a full ingredient list and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card below.
- Start by preparing the pasta. For this recipe, I decided to use radiatori. (When fixing pasta salads, I prefer pasta that has lots of nooks and crannies. They do a great job holding onto the dressing and other ingredients.) If you can’t find this exact pasta, choose something similar.
- While the pasta boils, prepare the pesto. Just toss the arugula, pine nuts, olive oil, basil, parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into a food processor (or powerful blender) and pulse until smooth. Friends, this pesto is so-o-o good. I want to put it on everything.
- Once your pasta and pesto are ready, you’re almost finished. I told you this was easy!
- Next, grab a big bowl and mix the pasta and pesto. together Then, toss in more arugula, pine nuts, and feta cheese. After another toss or two, your Pine Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad is complete!
I recommend serving this pasta salad on the day you make it. However, it’s still delicious the following day. If you feel it’s a little dry at that point, toss with a splash of olive oil. I actually saved a portion of this pasta salad and ate it for lunch for two days and it was still mighty fine!
To put your own spin on this delicious pasta salad, try mixing up the ingredients.
- Instead of pine nuts, go for walnuts or almonds.
- Switch out the arugula for spinach or kale.
- Add some roasted cherry tomatoes or marinated artichoke hearts for extra flavor.
- If you want to make it a heartier meal, add in some grilled chicken or shrimp.
That’s what I love about any pasta salad recipe. They are so easy to customize and make them your own.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know a little more, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with some frequently asked questions about this pasta salad recipe:
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! This pasta salad actually tastes better after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours. It’s a great make-ahead dish for a dinner party or potluck.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely. While we love the texture and size of the raditori in this recipe, but you could use any type of pasta you like.
Can I substitute the arugula with another type of leafy green?
Yes, feel free to use spinach, kale, or even mixed greens instead of arugula.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
You can easily make this recipe vegan by omitting the cheeses and adding in a vegan-friendly alternatives, or just leaving them out altogether.
More Pasta Salads You Will Enjoy
With all its flavors, this Pine Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasto Salas feels and tastes so bright and fresh. And as far as pasta salads go, it’s not all that terrible for you. To make it even healthier you could substitute a whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta if you’d like.
I certainly hope you give this Pine Nut and Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad a shot. Serve it at your next get-together or as a weeknight dinner side dish. If you do, please stop back and leave a comment and a 5-star rating below.
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Begin by placing the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook the pasta according to package directions – until al dente. Rinse under cold water.
Next, prepare the pine nut and arugula pesto. In a food processor, add 1 cup arugula, 1/2 pine nuts, olive oil, basil, parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
In a large bowl, gently toss the cooked pasta with the pesto. Add the remaining arugula and pine nuts and toss with the feta cheese. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Note: I recommend serving this pasta salad on the day you make it. However, it’s still delicious the following day. If it seems a little dry at that point, toss it with a splash of olive oil.
I recommend serving this pasta salad on the day you make it. However, it’s still delicious the following day. If it seems a little dry at that point, toss it with a splash of olive oil.
Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 2mg